The thrill of adrenaline. The unparalleled beauty of a snowy alpine scenery. As soon as you hop onto a “motor sled” and zip out into the great Sierra Nevada range, you’ll understand why so many do it. Combine the excitement of a high-speed ride and a tour this winter by snowmobiling in the High Sierra. Here’s a glimpse into where you can enjoy the High Sierra of the motorized kind.
Once-In-A-Lifetime Views Of Lake Tahoe
For those wanting to catch a glimpse of Lake Tahoe that very few get in the winter months, the guided tour with Zephyr Cove Snowmobile Center is the perfect choice. Departing from the shores of Lake Tahoe, you’ll cruise through majestic meadows and slowly ascend up to 9,000’. At the peak of the climb, the “million-dollar” view to the cobalt waters famous in the Sierra will open up before your eyes. Want more? Weather permitting, you can enjoy an evening/night ride as the full moon paints the landscape with an iridescent glow rarely seen anywhere else.
Ride The Snow Highway
In the summer, one of California’s best kept secrets offers up amazing scenery like no other scenic byway can. As the Sierra Nevada’s winter storm train arrives, Ebbetts Pass shuts down for the season. But that doesn’t mean you can’t see the sights under a blanket of snow. Instead, you need to jump onto your snowmobile (or rent one from Bear Valley Snowmobile) and zip along 15 miles of groomed trails through a winter wonderland to reach the pass. Come see why many call this region the best snowmobiling California has to offer.
Explore Truckee’s Backcountry
While there’s a vast assortment of skiing to be had at your doorstep, did you know that just outside the historic town of Truckee-Tahoe there’s a vast network of snowmobiling trails to explore? Eagle Ridge provides access to 200 miles of groomed terrain that encompasses 650 square miles. From wide open meadows for playing to gorgeous vistas of the Sierra Nevada, let’s just say you won’t be bored.
See The Eastern Sierra On A Snowmobile
California’s Eastern Sierra isn’t home to just world class skiing. It has a bounty of outdoor recreation that rivals any winter vacation destination including snowmobiling. For snow machine thrill seekers that own their own sleds, venture to the Bridgeport Winter Recreation Area. Covering a whopping seven THOUSAND acres of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, you’ll find enough elbow room to challenge yourself AND see spectacular vistas of the region. For those that don’t have a snowmobile, take a guided tour with DJ’s Snowmobile Adventure at Smokey Bear Flat. Their operation connects you to over 100 miles of groomed trails and also offers self-guided tours and rentals.
“Mammoth” Riding In Mammoth Lakes
A little further south in the town of Mammoth Lakes is yet another vast area that you can play in the snow via snow machine. With an average of thirty feet of snow annually, 80 miles of groomed trails, and 75,000 acres of expanse to play in, you’ll have more than enough to experience snowmobiling at its best. Don’t own one? No problem. Mammoth Lakes offers guided tours that are as short as an hour or up to three hours.
Although you can’t hop on a motorized vehicle within the national park, just outside of its borders you can dip your toe into some wintry fun in the Sierra National Forest via Sierra Nevada Motor Sports. Depending on how much snow is on the ground, you’ll either hop onto a snow track or take off on the appropriate off-road vehicle for what’s out there.
If you think sitting by a crackling fire while sipping hot cocoa and gazing out at the wintry landscape is the best way to enjoy the season, think again. With more than 300 days of sunshine and a deep snowpack, the High Sierra were designed for snowy-time fun. So, grab your helmet, rev up that engine and enjoy snowmobiling in the High Sierra.
Author: Alex Silgalis
Alex Silgalis is an outdoors travel writer who enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking, or having a cold one from a local mountain brewery. See more of Alex’s work at https://localfreshies.com
Stay Up to Date
Join our mailing list for updates on hidden gems, events, and more from California's High Sierra.